If I Was a Rich Girl

I was sitting and watching First Dates Hotel the other night, and they featured an 87 year old multi-millionaire. He was the epitome of old-man goals! He was fit, funny, charming and way too blasé about the fact he had the income to rival a small country! He even offered his date, as a flirtatious side-note, to move to the Bahamas with her. I mean, if that doesn’t scream sugar-daddy, I don’t know what does! As someone who has had to come to terms with the fact that she will never be in a pay-grade high enough to even joke about moving to the Bahamas, I like to live vicariously through the riches of others.

And so, it got me thinking… If I had enough money to match someone’s phone number, what would I actually do with it? Now, I’m not talking about all the boring, and sensible things that I could do, like reinvesting and stocks and blah blah blah, or donating to charities and helping those in need… I am talking, splurges that I would make!

I think, first of all, I would pay for an around the world holiday, for me and my partner. We could just drop everything, and gallivant around countries I have never even heard of! We could try wines that come with dust on the bottle, eat food that is ridiculously priced, and explore town’s that look like they belong in movies. I would book my flight’s as I go, and not plan anything more than a week ahead of me, leaving the excitement of the next adventure lingering for as long as possible. I would go to the heights of Machu Pichu, the cool streets of Cuba, the amazing waterfalls of Bali and everywhere in between. I would spend a winter in New York, a summer in Europe, an autumn in Australia, and a spring in Asia. I would be living that Instagram dream!

After that though, it’s hard to say… I know I would treat my friends and family to amazing gifts! I would make up for all the times when I haven’t had enough money to scrape something together for their birthday or Christmas. I would buy a house, or two, with stunning homewares! I am talking Zara home and Habitat level… Yuh, I know, luxurious! I would buy a dog or two, that could, of course, run around in my huge back garden, and cool off in our own swimming pool. I know that I would buy life things. Nothing extravagant like boats or cars, just things that make living comfortable…

That’s not to mention, my hair and nails, and clothes would always be on point… Got to be selfish sometimes!

And then, at the age of 87, like the old man off First Dates, I would drop everything and move somewhere fancy. I would make sure my kids are comfortable and happy, and then fuck off somewhere sunny to live out the rest of my days… what a dream!

But oh so swiftly, I crash back to reality, and realise that I have about 5 quid to last me until the end of the week, and only tinned soup to eat in the cupboard. Well, I guess I better start buying some lottery tickets then…

Cafe Squatting

So I’m sitting in the corner of a hipster little café in Hampstead. I have a flat white, complete with swan art, to my left, and a finished plate of smashed avocado to my right. I am wearing a big swishing scarf, and bright red lipstick, in the hope that I may scream some sort of sophistication in this place, that is definitely far too cool for me. On the overhead speakers, some husky man is murmuring meaningful lyrics, accompanied by a guitar and the chatter of the people dining in this small space. Of course, everything is wooden, mismatched in the way that looks put together, if you know what I mean. Even the staff are all co-ordinating in their dark shirts, pierced noses and waxed moustaches.

I love going to places like this, it’s a prime spot for people watching, and so let my totally inaccurate observations begin…

Sitting opposite me, are the ladies that lunch. Two middle-aged women who definitely do Pilates on the weekends. They are munching down on their gluten-free salad option, because they are trying to watch what they eat. They sip on their extra hot cappuccinos, but of course, no sprinkles, thankyou very much. Their double denim attire, completed with a beret and boots oozes luxury. As their second round of coffee arrive, they completely ignore the young server, as they are too busy gossiping to acknowledge anyone around them. A dismissive wave of the hand as the guy offer’s two cappuccinos, but oh no, they have sprinkles! A slightly curt suggestion that he should’ve known what they ordered before he served them is said, and they continue their loud catch-up as two new ones are made.

Next, are the cool guys. Two youngish boys dressed in an effortless sweater and denim combo. Pulled up socks cover the area of their shins that their too-short jeans don’t, and the white trainers tie the look together. One guy has his hair tied up in low buns behind his head, accentuating the three gold hoops in his ear that he and his mates pierced themselves. The other has a beige cap on to cover his mop of curly hair, and a strong beard to match. They are only drinking water, because they don’t actually like the taste of coffee, but that’s okay because coffee is probably to mainstream these days anyway. They are looking at a laptop, and discussing ideas together, maybe for the next start-up business venture in east London.

On the opposite side of the table, is the first-time mum. Hair tied-up in a fuss-free ponytail and a knit thrown on, that definitely has a stain from this morning’s breakfast. She clutches her latte for moral support while her baby cries in its pram, for no particular reason. As she pulls her little one out, and balances him on her knee, you can see her tired eyes wishing for some sort of magical cure for crying toddlers. She shares her portion of plain toast, out of love but also in the hope of a moment of silence. As she folds him in a hug, you can see the bond of love between them, despite the sleepless nights.

Finally, the coffee guy. He has short brown hair, and is dressed in vintage chic that only waiters in cool coffee shops do. He is shy, not wanting to interrupt his customers as he carries over coffee after coffee. He has been working all day, but still wears a smile on his face as he welcomes new people into the café, a smile that his masking how bored and tired he really is.

As I sit in the corner of the coffee shop, I notice each group of people, sipping their coffee and enjoying their afternoon chat. They flow in and out, but I am that one weirdo who has been here all afternoon. After all of the judgements I make on other people, which are definitely in jest, the staff are probably making the same on me:

There is a girl sitting in the back corner of the shop, who has only had one coffee all afternoon, but keeps asking for water, probably because she is too stingy to buy anything else, but wants to sap our free wifi. She has been furiously typing away on her laptop, probably writing some essay about the arts, judging by the colour of her hair, and her bright clothing, not to mention the nose ring.

If only they knew, that if café squatting was a sport, I would be the champion….

Sensible Shoes

You know when you were younger, and your mum always made a point of making you wear sensible shoes? Or swore it was cold and you would need a jacket? Yet, you always thought the high and mighty powers of childhood knowledge were far superior to what your mum knew.

It surely wouldn’t be thaaat cold today!

I will be fine in these strappy, clacky shoes even though its pissing it down outside!

Mum, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you don’t even know what fashion is anymore!

And then, every single time. She was right! And you would have to spend the rest of your night refusing the fact you were cold, despite feeling like you were about to shatter from the arctic temperatures your poor little toes were enduring.

And then, one day… she gives up. She stops telling you to not wear things… Or that you will need a jacket… Or that you really shouldn’t dye your hair permanently to a subtle shade of fire engine red!

There comes a point where mums pass you over to the harsh cruelty of the world, where you find out about your bad fashion choices via your best friend telling about the conversation she overheard in maths, or by the blatant stares when you walk into school rocking your new ‘do’.

But that doesn’t mean this motherly wealth of knowledge still isn’t there, to be readily tapped into at any point. Mums know things. Things, us mere mortals could never even dream of knowing! It’s like they get this magical bible of knowledge, only the secret mum’s club has access to, that has the answer to every problem. Ever. Have a red wine stain on the most uncommon material known to man? She will know the solution! Have some weird lump or bump that appeared yesterday? She knows what it is! Don’t know how to express your disgust for people in a professional, passive aggressive way in the workplace? She has the perfect email already prepared!

Having moved across the world to live independently at the age of 18 made me appreciate this magical wealth of knowledge so much more. Just a text away, my mum could answer and help with all the problems I faced, from washing and cooking to people and houses. Not to mention, I have come to love a good pair of sensible shoes! That little voice in the back of my head always makes sure I have a coat, scarf and comfortable footwear before embarking on a big day out. Thanks mum!

So maybe, when the day comes that I get inducted into the secret mum’s club and have bestowed upon me the knowledge of the world, I will finally have my shit together. I will always have tissues and plasters in my bag, comfortable, supportive shoes on my feet, and the knowledge of life and love in my head. Until then though… I am continuing to bumble through my days wishing I had brought a spare hair tie with me, or woken up that little bit earlier to pack my lunch. But I know, mum is always just a phone call away…

And then there is Dad… But that’s a story for another day!

New Year New Me?

So it’s 2018… What. The. Fuck.

I’m bringing in a classic cliché here, but that has come around so fast! In a blink of an eye, a year full of memories, work and uni has come and gone, and I’m still not feeling any more ready for the big wide world. With 2018 brings dissertations, graduations, careers and houses, all things that seemed like distant thoughts last year, but are now scary realities. With each day comes new adult decisions that I am definitely not qualified to make, yet forced to out of fear for not getting my ‘shit’ together.

Now I’m not the kind of person to believe in the whole New Year New Me bullshit. If you need the date of 1st of January to change your life, then Susan, you need to check yourself. However, in saying that, I like the idea of having a bit of a refresh and look at what cards you have to play. With all the huge moments that 2018 brings for me, I have taken the opportunity to have a look at my situation and make some promises. Of course, there are the superficial ones that aren’t uncommon: become fitter, go to the gym more blah blah blah… but also some that are more meaningful to me and go a little bit deeper than just what you see in the mirror!

  1. Do more: there are too many times where I miss out on things that I love to do, because I feel like I need to be doing something else more important instead, but no more! I want to be happy in my choices and do things I love, not working constantly or staying in to save money.
  2. Write more: I love writing and I want to take the time to do it more. Whether its blog writing, playwriting or just scribbling in a note book, I want to be that person who just has a vat of writing stored in places in their bag, on their laptop and in their head! Instead of spending 20 minutes scrolling through facebook, I could be using that time to write something.
  3. Love more: I am such a terrible person when it comes to expressing my love for my friends and family. I am that person who won’t ever message people once I stop seeing them, purely because I forget and don’t know what to say. I want to make more of an effort to appreciate and talk to my friends, and show my love to those around me.
  4. Work hard: This year is probably the pinnacle moment for me in many ways and so I want to make sure I put my head down and work my butt off to get what I want. This goes for university and for careers afterwards.
  5. Get out more: There are so many days that I spend at home watching Youtube or Netflix because I have no reason to leave the house. I want to take advantage of where I am living and explore around me more. If that means taking my laptop to a random café for an afternoon to do uni work, then so be it, but just make sure I get out of the house.

So there you go, it’s written down and put on the big wide web so it definitely has to be official, right? 2018 as a new year is not bringing a new me, but more of an active version of myself, someone who I want to be, and am happy with.

So cliché over, let’s just hope these resolutions last more than a month like most!

Balance

Being in my final year of university, there is a figure, a shadow even, standing two feet behind me at all times. It follows me around to remind me about dissertation, money, and life after graduation. Sometimes, my vision is so focused, and I am momentarily distracted by day-to-day life that I forget the figure is still standing there. But, it never fails to sneak into my peripheral vision at the first chance it gets. It is a constant worry that the figure is going to catch up with me, bringing with it deadlines and overdrafts. I try my best to keep that two feet separation, but something I am trying to teach myself, at the moment, is balance. Sometimes, it is okay to buy that dress and treat myself, but sometimes I do need to save every penny I can. Some days, I eat bowls of kale and chicken, and other days I demolish a packet of custard creams because they were on offer at Sainsburys! I so often beat myself up for not doing what I should be doing, but I think that there comes a point where you need to focus on things you need to do instead.

This weekend was such a perfect example of me letting that two-feet distance shorten just a little bit, but in exchange, I gave myself the time I needed with friends, enjoying myself and having fun.

My slightly obsessive nature for organisation and lists saw a drafted out version of my weekend in my head, planned days in advance. My list told me I was going to relax, be productive and study for most of my time, and get a good night’s rest to catch up on the long week. I was excited to have a productive and refreshingly quiet weekend. And then… Life kicked in! I saw my friend’s show on Saturday night, and one drink afterwards turned into drinking luxurious pints in Chelsea that we definitely could not afford, to downing coconut tequila shots in our friends bedroom in Kilburn. Fast-forward to six am Sunday morning, and I was finally stumbling home, feeling warm and fuzzy from booze and drunken chats despite the freezing morning I had walked out to. This was not part of the plan! The rest of Sunday was spent in a hungover, sleepy haze, with my bed comforting me until the late afternoon. All the things I had planned to do got thrown out the window, and instead, I watched Blue Planet and cooked my mums amazing minestrone soup.

I wanted to beat myself up for going out so late, and not getting essay work and research done. But, as I look back on my weekend now, I realise that actually, that was what I needed. Working long hours and studying this term has meant that I haven’t been able to spend much time with my friends, and this weekend was the chance to try and make up for all the pints we should have been having at the SU bar every week.

We all lead such busy lives these days, so for me, it is important to learn to not be so strict on myself. If I want to eat half a chocolate bar in one sitting, then I bloody will, and I will try not to beat myself up about it, because I know that I had a healthy and nutritious dinner!  Balancing out those should’s and needs will stop that shadow catching up, so let’s all learn to read the scales.